Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 10 June, 2021

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What are “Overture supersonic aircraft” and what are its challenges?

What is the news?

Plans to buy 15 new Overture supersonic Aircraft have been announced by US-based United Airlines. These aircrafts are planned to be open for passengers by 2029.

What are Supersonic Flights?

  • Supersonic aircraft are planes that can fly faster than the speed of sound.
  • Usually, supersonic planes can travel at the speed of around 900 kmph, twice the speed of normal aircraft.

First Supersonic Aircraft:

  • Concorde, the British-French turbojet-powered commercial airliner, was the first aircraft to carry passengers at supersonic speed.
  • But eventually, the aircraft had to be discontinued due to cost and other concerns.

What about the Overture supersonic aircraft?

  • The Overture supersonic aircraft would travel at the speed of Mach 1.7 or 1,805 kmph. In a single flight, it could carry 65 to 88 passengers.
  • The aircraft will also not be noisy, as supersonic planes in the past were, as it aims for “zero overland noise.
    • Zero overland noise essentially means that the aircraft will fly at supersonic speeds only overwater. Thereby ensuring no sonic boom or excessive noise reaches the surfaces where people live.

Challenges with Supersonic Flights:

  • Environment Pollution: The costs of making sustainable supersonic planes are extremely high. This is because using excessive amounts of fuel and energy is likely to have high environmental costs.
  • Excessive Noise: Travelling faster than the speed of sound causes a sonic boom which can be heard on the ground as a loud thunderclap or explosion. This limits where and when the supersonic planes can fly.
  • High Cost: Supersonic aircraft would not be economically feasible for everyone. Only the very rich can afford supersonic planes, as a ticket is likely to be way more costlier than a first-class ticket of a regular plane.

Source: Indian Express


“Sardar Sarovar Dam” provides irrigation water in summer for the first time in history

What is the News?

Sardar Sarovar Dam usually has no water for irrigation during summers. However, for the first time in history, the dam has been filled with Narmada water.

 About Sardar Sarovar Dam:

  • Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam is a terminal dam built on the Narmada river at Kevadia in Gujarat’s Narmada district. The dam is called the ‘lifeline of Gujarat’.
  • Indian States: The four Indian states namely Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan receive water and electricity supply from the dam. They share the water as per the ratio stipulated by the 1979 award of the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal.
  • Construction of the Dam:
    • The foundation stone of the dam was laid out by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961.
    • However, the construction of the dam was stopped by the Supreme Court of India in 1995 over concerns of displacement of people.
    • In 2000–01, the project was again revived but with a lower height under directions from SC. But its height was later again increased to 139 metres in 2017.
    • The dam was then inaugurated in 2017 by the present Prime minister.

Water Management Initiatives that helped to harness water for the Dam:

  • During the monsoon, the Sardar Sarovar Dam operation is well synchronised with the rain forecast in the catchment area. The government ensures minimum water flows downstream into the sea and maximum water is used during the dam overflow period. This help in maximizing the annual allocation of a water share.
  • However, in the non-monsoon months, the measures for efficient use of the allocated water share typically includes:
    • Minimising the conventional and operational losses.
    • Avoiding water wastage
    • Restricting water-intensive perennial crops
    • Adoption of Underground Pipelines(UGPL);
    • Proper maintenance of canals and structures and
    • Operation of canals on a rotational basis.

Source: Indian Express


“Operation Pangea” of Interpol targets counterfeit and illicit health products

What is the News?

Interpol has conducted Operation Pangea XIV to target the sale of counterfeit and illicit medicines and medical products.

About Operation Pangea:

  • Operation Pangea is an international effort to target the online sale of counterfeit and illicit health products. It also aims to raise public awareness of the potential dangers of buying medicines online.
    • The first time Operation Pangea was conducted was in 2008.
  • Led by: The operation is coordinated by INTERPOL. It involved police, customs and health regulatory authorities from 92 countries.
  • India: Indian agencies also participated in the operation. The Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) is the nodal body for Interpol in the country.
  • Impact:
    • The operation resulted in around 1 lakh web links including websites and online marketplaces being closed down or removed.
    • Moreover, more than half of all medical devices seized during the operation were fake and unauthorized COVID-19 tests.

Read Also :-Report card of demonetization after one year 

Source: The Hindu


Covid-19 vaccines are safe for “inflammatory bowel disease” patients: New research

What is the News?

According to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines are safe for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases(IBD). They do not appear to have an increased risk of side effects from Covid vaccines.

About the Research:

  • Researchers evaluated the post-vaccination side effects in 246 adult inflammatory bowel diseases(IBD) Covid-19 vaccine patients.
  • These patients most often reported pain and swelling at the injection site after vaccination. This is followed by reasons such as fatigue, headache and dizziness, fever and chills and gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • However, most of these side effects were mild and lasted only a few days.

Inflammatory bowel disease(IBD):

  • Inflammatory bowel disease(IBD) represents a group of intestinal disorders that cause prolonged inflammation of the digestive tract.
  • Types: The two most common IBDs are ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease:
    • Ulcerative Colitis(UC) involves inflammation of the large intestine.
    • Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation in any part of the digestive tract. However, it mostly affects the tail end of the small intestine.
  • Causes of IBDs: Family history and genetics, Weak Immune System, Smoking, Ethnicity, Age and Environmental Factors among others.
  • Treatment: Treatment may include immunosuppressive drugs to control the inflammation.

Source: Indian Express


“Costs of Climate Change in India Report”: India may lose 3-10% of its GDP in 2100

What is the news?

Costs of Climate Change in India report has been released by London-based global think tank Overseas Development Institute.

About Costs of Climate Change in India Report:

  • It looks at the economic costs of climate-related risks in India. It also points to the possibility of increased inequality and poverty due to climate change.

Key Highlights from the Costs of Climate Change in India Report:

 Impact of Climate Change: India is already feeling the impacts of 1°C of global warming such as:

  • Heatwaves are becoming more common and severe;
  • Heavy rain events have increased threefold since 1950 and
  • Rising sea levels are posing new risks as a third of India’s population live along the coast.

Also Read: Causes behind natural climate change

Economic Costs due to Climate Change:

  • India may lose anywhere around 3 to 10% of its GDP annually by 2100 due to climate change.
  • Moreover, even if the temperatures are contained to 2oC, India will still lose 2.6% GDP annually.
  • In case the global temperatures were to increase to 3oC, this loss will increase to 13.4% annually.

Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Mahanadi deltas

  • The report has analyzed the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Mahanadi deltas.
    • In these deltas, over 60% of cropland and pastureland is devoted to satisfying demand from elsewhere.
  • The report found that the climate-induced disappearance of the activity around these deltas will lead to an economic loss of 18–32% of GDP.

Increase in Poverty and Inequality due to Climate Change:

  • Rise in poverty: India’s poverty rate may rise by 3.5% in 2040 due to climate change. This equates to around 50 million more poor people than there otherwise would have been in that year.
    • This can happen because of various factors. Such as rising cereal prices, declining wages in the agricultural sector and the slower rate of economic growth attributable to climate change.

Source: Indian Express


Delhi Development Authority (DDA) releases Draft Master Plan for Delhi-2041

What is the News?

Draft Master Plan for Delhi-2041 has been released in the public domain by Delhi Development Authority (DDA). Suggestions and objections have been invited from the public.

About Draft Master Plan for Delhi-2041:

  • Draft Master Plan for Delhi has been prepared by Delhi Development Authority(DDA) in partnership with the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA).
    • NIUA is India’s leading national think tank on urban planning and development. In 1976, NIUA was appointed as an apex body to support and guide the Government of India in its urban development plans.
    • Since then, it has worked closely with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, alongside other government and civil sectors
  • Objective: The plan has been prepared as a set of guidelines meant to be used in the policies for housing, construction, transport and environment over the next 20 years in Delhi.
  • Vision: The vision for the plan is to “Foster a Sustainable, Liveable and Vibrant Delhi by 2041”.
  • First Master Plan: The first master plan for Delhi was promulgated in 1962 under the Delhi Development Act of 1957. It was followed by the master plans of 2001 and 2021.

Key Focus Areas of the Draft Master Plan for Delhi-2041:

 Environment:

  • Green Development Area (GDA) to be set up for incentivizing large-scale implementation of green economies.
  • The polluting industries will not be permitted to operate within Delhi. The list of polluting industries will be periodically updated by the Delhi government and DDA.
  • Enhancement of a “Green-Blue Infrastructure (GBI)” by taking into account the Aravali ridge, the Yamuna, forests, wetlands, parks and other assets.
    • GBI is an interconnected network of natural and designed landscape components, including water bodies and green and open spaces.
    • Blue infrastructure refers to infrastructure related to hydrological functions. This includes rainwater and urban stormwater systems as well as surface water
    • Green infrastructure refers to green spaces like parks, natural vegetation like trees etc.
  • Dust management plan at construction sites
  • Creation of a tree directory in order to preserve count the number of trees
  • Promoting clean economic activities and minimized vehicular pollution by creating multimodal hubs and encouraging green mobility.

Economy:

  • Promoting the concept of ‘24-hour city’ by fostering a night-time economy
  • No new mixed-use streets: This means no commercial streets will be declared in residential areas
  • New industrial areas to be developed as a hub of the clean economy (tech and cyber parks etc)
  • Multi-use community work centres or co-working spaces to be developed
  • Development of business promotion districts in industrial areas
  • Providing infrastructure for the informal sector

Transport:

  • Introduction of congestion pricing and dynamic parking charges
  • Restriction of on-street parking
  • Development of e-vehicles infrastructure
  • Development of ‘cycling highways and enhancing walkability

Housing:

  • Promotion of rental housing (permission to develop it in industrial areas, etc)
  • Online portal for rental housing scheme
  • Development of large-scale housing using land-pooling
  • Redevelopment of unauthorized colonies

Heritage Public Places:

  • Area-based improvement approach for revitalizing the commercial and socio-cultural hubs of the city. This includes areas like Connaught Place, Mandi House, Pragati Maidan and Shahjahanabad (Walled City).

Source: The Hindu


NITI Aayog launches “Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan”

What is the news?

Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan’ has been launched by NITI Aayog and Piramal Foundation.

About Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan:

  • Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan has been launched in 112 aspirational districts.
  • Aim: To assist district administrations in providing home-care support to COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.
  • Features of the initiative:
    • Firstly, the initiative will be led by district magistrates in partnership with local NGOs.
    • Secondly, the NGOs will help mobilise local volunteers. They shall be trained so that they can provide support to affected families by educating them to follow Covid-19 protocols. They shall also be trained to provide psycho-social support and timely updates about patients to the administration.
    • Thirdly, local leaders, civil societies and volunteers will also work with district administrations to address emerging problems across key focus areas of the Aspirational Districts Programme.
  • Significance of the campaign: The Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan campaign is expected to contribute to district preparedness for managing nearly 70% of COVID cases at home. Hence, it shall reduce pressure on the healthcare system and curbing the spread of fear among the people.

About Transformation of Aspirational Districts programme (TADP):

  • The TADP programme was launched in 2018. It is coordinated by Niti Aayog with support from Central Ministries and the State Governments.
  • Aim: To quickly and effectively transform underdeveloped districts. This will be done by focusing on the strength of each district, identifying easily achievable areas for immediate improvement, measuring progress and then ranking them.
  • Features: it is based on three broad principles:
    • Convergence (of Central & State Schemes),
    • Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and
    • Competition among districts driven by a mass Movement.
  • Themes: The programme focuses on 5 main themes:
    • Nutrition
    • Education
    • Agriculture & Water Resources
    • Financial Inclusion & Skill Development
    • Basic Infrastructure.
  • Ranking: Each district is ranked based on 49 performance indicators identified across the above 5 core themes. The main objective of the rankings is to measure progress and rank districts to spur a sense of competition among states.

Source: The Hindu 


How is the “UN Secretary-General” appointed?

What is the news?

Secretary-General António Guterres has been formally approved for a second term by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). He will have a term of five more years starting January 1, 2022.

  • The recommendation will now go to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) which is expected to make the appointment.

Process of UN Secretary-General Appointment:

  • Appointment: The UN Secretary-General is appointed by the UN General Assembly on the recommendation of the UN Security Council.

Procedure:

  • To be selected as a UN Secretary-General, a candidate must receive the votes of at least 9 members of the United Nations Security Council, with no vetoes from permanent members.
  • Therefore, the Secretary-General’s selection is subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members (France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) of the UN Security Council.
    • The US used this power to deny Egypt’s Boutros-Ghali a second term in 1997 and China did the same in 1981 for denying Austria’s Waldheim a third term.
  • The other 10 elected non-permanent members of the UN Security Council do not have veto powers. But their backing is crucial, as a candidate requires at least 9 out of 15 votes to be recommended for the top job.
  • Moreover, for any candidate to have a real chance at being considered for the top post, a recommendation by any UN member state is essential.
    • In the current race, Guterres was endorsed by Portugal for a second term, and none of his seven other challengers received backing from a member state.

Functions of UN Secretary-General:

  • The UN Charter refers to the Secretary-General as the UN chief administrative officer.
  • Mandate: UN Secretary-General shall act and perform such functions as given to him by the UN Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and other United Nations organs.
  • Functions: The Secretary-General’s day-to-day work includes:
    • attendance at sessions of United Nations bodies;
    • consultations with world leaders, government officials and
    • worldwide travel intended to keep the Secretary-General in touch with the peoples of the UN member states.

Note:

  • All the nine occupants of the post have been men.
  • There is technically no limit to the number of five-year terms a Secretary-General may serve. But none so far has held office for more than two terms.

Source: Indian Express


 

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